Fear the Walking Dead: Pillar of Salt
I wasn’t really sure how to end last week’s Fear the Walking Dead recap, so I wondered aloud how the show would go about reuniting the scattered cast. There didn’t seem to be a logical way to reconnect the various plot threads, but clearly that would be the objective for the remaining episodes this season. Sure enough this week’s episode titled “Pillar of Salt” set the ground work for the expected reunion. And as expected, it did so in the laziest, most nonsensical way possible.
Before we get to the Clark clan, let’s deal with the reappearance of Ofelia Salazar. A few weeks ago, Ofelia just disappeared without a trace. She and Alicia were checking the new hotel for zombies. Alicia decided to clean up with a shower and Ofelia just took off. No note, no nothing. This is a pretty shitty thing to do under any circumstances. But in a zombie apocalypse, this kind of thoughtlessness could get someone killed.
The characters never seemed especially concerned about Ofelia’s disappearance beyond speculating that she may have made off with their truck. Viewers were probably even less invested in her story. Ofelia’s role on the show has always been to advance her father’s storyline. Now that he is “dead” (in quotes because no one I know believes he actually died off camera), the writers haven’t been able to come up with anything for Ofelia to do.
“Pillar of Salt” gives us a look into Ofelia’s life before the apocalypse. It turns out she turned down a chance at love and marriage in order to take care of her aging parents. Since then, she has discovered that her parents were not nearly as helpless as she had thought. But even that doesn’t matter anymore because as far as she knows, they are both dead. So without saying a word to anyone, Ofelia sets out on her own to… well, we don’t really know what her plans are.
Meanwhile, everyone else at the newly zombie-free hotel is living the good life. They have hooked up a generator which means Strand now has ice for his drinks. Alicia is taking surfing lessons on the very same beach she just dumped around 100 zombies into last week which seems like a truly terrible idea, but plays out like an Annette Funicello movie.
After a montage filled with broad smiles, you know something is going to go wrong. And sure enough, it does. There’s a knock on the door and Strand answers it without a hint of concern for his well-being. Unfortunately, Eileen, the mother of the bride from the Red Wedding flashback, is standing in the doorway with a knife. She stabs Strand and says it’s for killing her daughter (who was walking around in zombie form), but it sure looked like she was thrusting the knife before the door was fully open. Whoever opened that door was likely getting shanked.
The group has a debate over what to do with Stabby Mom while they tend to Strand’s wounds. Ultimately, Madison decides to lock Eileen up indefinitely and establishes the hotel group’s first law. Anyone who acts out violently against someone else in the hotel will be exiled.
But the real reason for the stabbing incident is to create a reason for Madison to go to Tijuana. It seems Strand’s would is going to require a specific treatment. Elena says the pharmacy has been cleared out, but she knows a place. She takes Madison with her to the supermarket where Nick stole a snack cake so they can trade ice and fish for Strand’s prescription.
While they are there, Madison overhears an investigation. When she hears about a “gringo with ratty hair” she’s pretty sure that’s her son. The fact that he is dealing drugs cinches it in her mind. There could only be one ratty-haired American junkie in Mexico and that’s her boy. Last week, Madison superficially made progress by admitting she had neglected her daughter in her obsessive need to protect her troubled son. This week, all of that goes out the window.
First, Madison interrupts what is clearly gang shit in order to get some intel on Nick’s whereabouts. This probably should have gotten her and Elena killed, but instead they get a stern warning. Then, when they get back to the hotel, Madison turns on the massive sign signaling to all of Mexico that they have power. Sure, it might attract Nick. But it’s sure to attract danger. Alicia points this out, but Madison could give a crap. She’d light the place on fire and toss Alicia into the pyre if she thought it would bring Nick back to her.
And remember, Nick left of his own free will. On any other show, Madison would be the worse, but Chris is still on Fear the Walking Dead. And so is Travis. Speaking of Travis, he sees the sign beckoning him like a Batsignal, but killer Chris is nowhere in sight. Is it too much to hope Chris is dead?
Back at la colonia, Nick and Luciana are enjoying some sexy time. But Alejandro appears to be coming unglued. Like every other community leader on The Walking Dead, Alejandro appears to be woefully ill-equipped for the job. Nick cautions him that they still need to make their scheduled delivery of oxy, but Alejandro seems more concerned with keeping his followers from abandoning him.
The mechanics for the inevitable reunion have now been set in place by a massively improbably coincidence, bad parenting and a complete lack of common sense. This would be disappointing, but it’s typical of the writing on Fear the Walking Dead.